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rishing amid its ruins. So fays John Still, the poetical historian of the abbey in the reign of Henry VI.—
"Hæc vallis tenuit olim fibi nomen ab herba
Hence, too, the nightshade figures largely in the armorial devices of the ancient seal of the abbey.
Furness was founded in 1127, by monks from the monastery of Savigni, who were invited by Stephen, Earl of Bologne, afterwards King Stephen, to whom the lordship had been
granted. These monks were of the Ciftercian order, as was fo generally the case with those who founded the abbeys of the twelfth century. It is noteworthy that, of the ten abbeys and priories which we have introduced into this volume, the whole of them, without our having selected them on that account, seem either to have been founded or refounded in the twelfth century. Three of these-Glastonbury, Iona, and Melrofe— were ancient British churches, taken poffeffion of and refounded by the Roman Catholics. Of these, too, no fewer than nine were poffeffed by the Ciftercian order, and, therefore, with one exception, dedicated, according to their wont, to St. Mary: namely:
Fountains, founded 1132, dedicated to St. Mary.
Tintern, ditto 1131, ditto
Holyrood, founded 11-, ditto
Furness, ditto 1127, Lanthony, ditto 1108, ditto St. Auguftine. Glastonbury, refounded 12th cent., Mary and Jesus Iona, ditto ditto ditto ditto. The twelfth century was the period of the ascendancy of the Ciftercian order. Of the seventeen chief abbeys and priories of Yorkshire, thirteen were founded in that century, and of thefe, fix were Ciftercian. Thofe founded earlier were generally Benedictine, and the later Carthufian or Francifcan.
Furness, indeed, had a Benedictine origin, Savigni being originally a house of that order; but the fourth abbot of Savigni furrendered the house and all its dependencies to St. Bernard, the great abbot of Clairvaux, to become Ciftercian ; and though Peter of York, the fourth abbot of Furness, went to Rome and obtained an order from the Pope to disobey this
ceffion, he was, on his return, seized by the monks of Savigni, and compelled to resign his abbey, and remain a monk there, Furness continuing Ciftercian. In its early days Furness had also a struggle for precedence with the abbey of Waverley in Surrey, which was also Ciftercian, on the ground that Waverley was founded a little pofterior to it. But it was ruled by the pope. that Waverley should stand at the head of all the Ciftercian houses in England; but that Furness should stand second, and Rievaux third: though some authors have placed Rievaux firft.
The charter of Stephen conferred on Furness immense eftates, which endowed it with almost regal power. In this and fucceeding charters they are described as poffeffing the right of fishery in Lancaster, Staplethorne, Furness Forest, the Isle of Walney, and the chace of Walney, the fishery of Dalton, Winterburne, Fordbotle, Crinelton, Rose, Berdesley, Newby, Sellefec, etc. The abbot had, also, amongst other privileges, fheriff's term, affize of bread and beer, wreck of the sea, wayf and estray, infangenetheof, and free chace in Dalton, Kyrkeby, Ireleth, Penyngton, Ulverfton, Aldingham, Legh, and Urfewyk in Furnefs. He was free from county fines and amercements, and from county fuits and wapentakes, for himself and men in those towns; and to have a market, fair, and gallows in Dalton; with full authority to make fummons and attachments by his bailiff in Furness. In short he had all the power of a fovereign prince over life and death. The ferjeantry or stewardship was of such importance that it was usually held by men of high rank. In the reign of Edward III. we find Sir Robert de Holland holding this office; and in that of Henry VIII. Cardinal Wolfey foliciting it for Stanley, Earl of Derby.
The size and splendour of the abbey was in keeping with
this fecular greatness; in these respects it was second only to Fountains in Yorkshire. It continued in this full-blown dignity and wealth till the diffolution, when its revenues. amounted, according to Speed, to £766 7s. 10d.; but according to Dugdale to £805 16s. 5d., exclufive of the woods, meadows, pastures, and fisheries, retained by the monks in their own hands, and of the shares of moneys, mills, and faltworks, which belonged to the abbey. The number of the abbots from first to laft was thirty-eight. The firft abbot was Evan de Abrineis from Savigni; the laft, who furrendered. it to the commiffioners of Henry VIII., on the 9th of April, 1537, was Roger Pyle. By a fingular custom, however, of this abbey, only ten abbots are recorded in the mortuary or dead book, for when an abbot had prefided ten years he was tranflated or depofed. All fuch abbots as died before the tenth year were not entered in this book; but only such as were allowed to be exceptions to the rule of translation or depofition, and to continue abbots beyond their decade till their death. Of these there were during the whole time only ten. No other abbey of the fame order had this fingular custom.
With their large estates the monks seem to have exercised a grand hospitality. Mr. Weft, in his hiftory of the abbey, says that in the course of a dispute betwixt the abbot and the attorney of the duchy of Lancaster, in 1582, fome curious proofs of this came up. One deponent, aged feventy-eight, said that he had many times seen the tenants resort to the monastery on tunning days, sometimes with twenty, sometimes with thirty horses, and had delivered to every of them firkins or barrels of beer, or ale, each containing ten or twelve. gallons; and the fame was worth 10d. or 12d. a barrel at that time. A dozen loaves of bread were delivered to every one that had a barrel of ale or beer; which bread and beer, or ale,
were delivered weekly; and every dozen loaves was worth 6d. Another deponent had known divers children of the tenants and their servants to have come from the plough, or other work, into the said abbey, where they had dinner or supper; and the children of the said tenants came divers times to the faid abbey, and were fuffered to come to school and learning within the said monastery. This was confirmed by a third, who faid there was both a grammar fchool and a fong school in the monastery, to which the children of the tenants that paid penfions were free to come and resort; and that he was at the said school. And Richard Banks deposed that the tenants and their families and children did weekly receive charity and devotion, over and above the relief and commodities before rehearsed, to the value of 40s. fterling. The abbot and monks did not submit to the deprivation of their splendid estate and patronage without a ftruggle. They took a diftinguished lead in exciting those they had so long maintained to the celebrated Pilgrimage of Grace.
The remains of the abbey bear the character of their early origin. They combine the maffiveness of the Saxon with the superior grace of the Norman architecture. The roof, being stripped of its lead, foon fell in, and the work of ruin went rapidly on. That of the chapter-house being spared, the roof did not fall till the middle of the eighteenth century. It was vaulted, and formed of twelve ridged arches, fupported by fix pillars in two rows, at fourteen feet distance from each other. The entrance, or front, to this graceful building is by one of the finest circular arches, deeply receding and richly ornamented, with a portico on each fide; the whole fupported by massive sculptured pillars. A very good description of Furness in its present state is given by Edward Baines in his "Companion to the Lakes." He fays, "I turned from the high